In May 2000, Schwartz Communications was retained by Salary.com with the goal of launching the company and web site through a national media campaign positioning Salary.com as the most comprehensive source of compensation data and content available online. As a direct result of Schwartz Communications’ efforts, the number of unique visitors per month to Salary.com grew to 1,433,578 and page views grew to 11,468,621 at the end of December. In August Salary.com received the distinction of being listed as # 6 on the Media Metrix list of top career sites, where it remained in December. Schwartz Communications accomplished this through securing widespread broadcast and print coverage—a total circulation of 195,6494,967 according to Media Map and Nielsen circulation figures—of the Salary.com Web site and the Salary Wizard ™, Salary.com’s flagship compensation tool.
Wellesley, Mass.-based, Salary.com was the first-to-market in the online compensation niche. Until Salary.com, the existing compensation data business was a $150 million loss leader segment of the multibillion-dollar benefits, HR practices and compensation consulting business. Companies such as William M. Mercer, Hewitt, Towers Perrin, Mercer and HayGroup sold their services for between $400 and $3,000 per compensation report. No company had ever done what Salary.com proposed to do—offer accurate, authoritative online compensation data to individuals, business managers and human resource professionals, for free.
The challenge faced by Schwartz Communications was to launch Salary.com and introduce the Salary Wizard ™, Salary.com’s flagship compensation tool and make it the defacto market leader in its space. However, Salary.com was faced with a very limited window of opportunity before other well-known compensation consultants entered into the online compensation space. As a result, the company needed to get its name and service out nationwide as quickly as possible.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
On May 1, 2000, Schwartz Communications developed a PR campaign designed to launch the company and the Salary Wizard simultaneously with a media and analyst tour. The objective of the public relations program was to brand Salary.com as the most comprehensive source of compensation data and content available online and to drive visitors to the site as well as gain interest from potential syndication partners.
The campaign was specifically crafted to capitalize on the three strategic keys to Salary.com’s competitive differentiation: 1) its development of the most accurate, useful and HR expert database; 2) a staff of top-tier compensation analysts working to ensure the accuracy and usefulness of the data; 3) the first and only company addressing the critical compensation elements of interest to both individuals and business or HR managers.
CAMPAIGN STRATEGY AND EXECUTION
The Salary.com program launch strategy was multi-tired. On May 15th, 2000, the Schwartz team jumped into launch mode and booked numerous meetings with key publications using an embargoed draft of the launch press release to gain interest and secure meetings.
First Schwartz Communications used the launch of the site and the first syndication partner, Yahoo, as the news hook for the public relations campaign. Second, Schwartz planned numerous follow on press releases announcing Salary.com’s subsequent syndication partners (among them, AOL, Yahoo!, Hoovers, Vault.com, Business Week) to show the tremendous momentum the brand was gaining in the marketplace.
Third, Schwartz positioned Salary.com compensation consultants as experts in the industry to show the quality and accuracy of Salary.com’s online data. The agency did this through a series of weekly media alerts offering the compensation consultants as experts on specific topics like stock options, raises, H-1B visas and vacation policies.
Schwartz also identified users for whom Salary.com’s services “saved the day” and pitched their stories to business, HR, technology and vertical media.
And finally Schwartz Communications convinced numerous journalists including Anne Fisher, Fortune’s “Ask Annie” and Money Magazine and NBC “Weekend Today” Contributor Jean Chatsky to use the Salary Wizard as a source for their stories further positioning Salary.com as the leader in online compensation information.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
As a direct result of Schwartz Communications efforts, the number of unique visitors to Salary.com grew to 1,433,578, per month, and in August, Salary.com received the distinction of being listed as # 6 on the Media Metrix list of top career sites; as of December it still retained this distinction. The number of placements that Schwartz Communications secured from May 2000 through December 2000 numbered 195,6494,967 according to Media Map and Nielsen circulation figures. Schwartz secured coverage for Salary.com on national television programs, such as ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Weekend Today, CBS’s MarketWatch Weekend and CNNfn’s Before Hours as well as in numerous tier I publications including Fortune, Money Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.
Schwartz Communications not only helped Salary.com drive viewers to the Salary.com site, but also helped Salary.com secure more than 130 career sites, recruitment sites, news sources and portals as syndication partners for its Salary Wizard locking in its position as the leader in online compensation information. Schwartz Communications positioned Salary.com’s compensation analysts as experts, leading them to be regularly sought out by the media s to discuss workplace-related issues and trends. As a direct result of the agency’s efforts, Salary.com’s data was rated as the best compensation online data source in both print and television, used by both consumers and HR professionals alike as a trusted and accurate source for compensation data.
In less than a year, and by using only public relations tactics developed by Schwartz Communications, the brand has come to unequivocally stand for accurate, useful and HR expert data for consumers and HR managers alike.
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